“View thoughts and concepts as future capital – so that thinking time is actually part of a sound planning process” – Anne Lise Kjaer

Don’t Confuse Action With Progress

Interview: Anne Lise Kjaer. The founder and director of Kjaer Global began her pan-European career in design. This led her on a journey from her native Denmark – via Paris and Hamburg – to London, where her unique philosophy and exceptional talent for recognising key trends meant a natural progression into future trends forecasting. Kjaer’s ‘nose’ for the next direction is matched by an original and inspiring way of translating fledgling concepts into tangible and successful strategies, and she works closely with leading global brands and organisations.

Key Facts on Kjaer Global
* Founded 1988
* Creates future concepts for the next generation of consumers.
* Clients includes IKEA, Toyota, McKinsey, Sony, Unilever


Q: So why have you chosen the TIME TO THINK theme?

Anne Lise Kjaer: Over the past 12 months many of our global customers have focused on out-of-the-box thinking and on new ways to create space to plan their corporate future. Companies who work with future strategies know that seeing the future in a new light is the only way to discover sustainable solutions and recognise untapped opportunities.

It is a marked trend – and I’d say a reaction. In today’s speed society, where work increasingly overtakes people’s personal lives, all too often we confuse action with progress.

How many of us have stopped to ask ourselves “what do I really want for my future?” Exactly the same question arises within corporations – large as well as small – and the next logical question is: how on earth do I get there? Finding the time – and the space – to ask the big questions is what TIME TO THINK is all about.

Q: How can companies practise TIME TO THINK?

Anne Lise Kjaer: The key starting point is scheduling time out of the workday routine where thinking is prioritised. My personal business philosophy is multidimensional thinking. What that means, in essence, is that hard values presented by scientific facts and current social forces need to be tempered with more instinctive understandings – the inspirations that drive consumers to a particular world view or shopping habit. People are shifting constantly, so for companies taking time to assess what is coming next is not a luxury but a necessity.

One way of rationalising the importance of this process is to view thoughts and concepts as future capital – so thinking time is actually a sound planning process. I often tell my clients “I am your wake-up call to the future” – because in this world predictive skills build robust companies.

Q: This leads me to my next questions – what will shape consumer behaviour and personal values in the years to come?

Anne Lise Kjaer: I have talked about the emotional consumer for the last decade. It used to be that when I said “Feeling” to a client, they said ‘Facts”. Today it’s all changing  – although all too often new thinking emerges out of a crisis rather than being part of a coherent strategy. Our most important single message is that companies must refocus their brand towards empowering the consumer.

We have already seen the massive growth of empowerment brands – ones that inspire, educate, illuminate or facilitate knowledge. In the future this will become a given – brands need to trade up right now.

Q: What would you hope the participants take home with them from the conference?

Anne Lise Kjaer: The same values I tell companies to build into their brands! To repeat the mantra – inspiration, education, illumination and empowerment. The whole idea of the conference is to take ideas and useful tools back then incorporate them into your future business strategy.

Q: Can I get a speed conclusion?

Anne Lise Kjaer: In a world so full of busy people, why is there such a lack of fresh ideas?

Interview: Questions by Kjaer Global for the Time to Think Conference, November 2005

1. Johan Peter Paludan, Anne Skare Nielsen & Anne Lise Kjaer
– Berlingske Photo: Ditte Valente
2. Anne Lise Kjaer


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